Every Minute Counts

Jim Linehan will never again say “wait a minute” when it comes to his health.

Every Minute CountsLast January, while recovering from surgery on his left foot, Jim Linehan noticed swelling in his right leg. While he knew he should alert his surgeon, Dr. Christopher Walker, and his wife, Dottie Linehan, he didn’t. It ended up being an almost fatal mistake.

Hours later, he was being treated at Fairfield Medical Center for a massive pulmonary embolism. Through the fast teamwork of FMC staff, including Cardiologist Dr. Jeremy Buckley, Emergency Physician Dr. Thomas Standeford, Pulmonologist Dr. Christian Tencza and Vascular Surgeon Dr. Krishna Mannava, Linehan’s life was saved.

“The mortality rates for a massive pulmonary embolism are over 50 percent,” Dr. Tencza said. “Most don’t survive.”

Dottie Linehan said when she saw her husband’s leg she knew he needed to go to the hospital. Upon arriving at FMC, his condition started to deteriorate.

“He said, ‘Dot, I can’t breathe’, ” she recalled. “They started to take his temperature and that’s when his eyes rolled back and he was out.”

Every Minute Counts 1A heart catheterization performed by Dr. Buckley revealed Jim Linehan was suffering from a pulmonary embolism, not a heart attack as originally suspected. In most cases, a pulmonary embolism is caused by blood clots that travel to a person’s lungs from their legs. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain and lightheadedness.

“I knew at that point we were in a lot of trouble because it was blocking off the blood flow to both lungs,” Dr. Buckley said.

Dr. Mannava and Dr. Tencza were immediately alerted of the situation and within minutes, Jim Linehan was rushed to the vascular interventional radiology suite. There, Dr. Mannava performed a cutting-edge procedure where small catheters are inserted through the femoral veins in the groin to deliver clot-dissolving medication combined with ultrasound energy to rapidly dissolve the clot.

“Thanks to the prompt collaboration among our specialists and the investment FMC has put into this new technology, Mr. Linehan was able to survive this life-threatening situation,” Dr. Mannava said.

Dottie Linehan said she was amazed at how quickly the physicians worked together to diagnose and treat her husband. By the next day, Jim Linehan’s breathing and vital signs had normalized.

“When Drs. Tencza, Buckley and Mannava were standing there and they said, ‘he’s in ICU, we think we got it,’ I just gave them all hugs and said, ‘God sent me three angels’. ”

Dottie Linehan said her husband’s health scare proved to be a major wake-up call for them both.

“Before this happened, Jim’s big thing was always ‘let’s wait a minute’,” she said. However, his philosophy changed when the doctor said to him, “You do not have another minute.”

Tags: Dr. Jeremy Buckley, Dr. Thomas Standeford, Dr. Christian Tencza, Dr. Krishna Mannava,